Introduction and objective:
Plant-based cow’s milk substitutes are used, among others, in cases of allergies or intolerance to the ingredients contained in milk, resignation from animal products, or in the case of certain diseases (e.g. hypocholesterolaemia).The most important factors taken into account by consumers when choosing a plant-based drink are the sensory characteristics that attest to the quality of the food product. The aim of the study was a sensory evaluation of the most popular plant-based drinks, as well as the analysis of the reasons for their choice, and the frequency of consumption among students of dietetics at the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, south-west Poland.

Material and methods:
The study was conducted using an original, anonymous questionnaire, in which 109 students participated. A sensory analysis of 5 plant-based drinks was also carried out in terms of taste, aroma, consistency and colour.

It was shown that more than half of the respondents (56%; n-61) included plant-based drinks in their diet. Only the gender of the respondents (p=0.047) significantly affected the consumption of drinks – women more willingly than men – to drink plant-based drinks. The surveyed students most willingly choose the oat drink among plant-based drinks-54.1% (n-33). The most common reason for choosing plant-based drinks was the fact that they are an interesting alternative to cow’s milk- 52.5% (n-32). In sensory evaluation, oat drink was definitely the best-rated drink.

Analysis showed that physical activity significantly influenced the frequency of consumption of plant-based drinks by students. Women more often than men consume plant-based drinks and were more likely to check their composition. The composition of the drinks was more often checked by students in the final year of study in relation to students in earlier years of study.

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